The most in-form player in the world bids to improve on a woeful record in grand slam events at the Australian Open

Winning grand slam tournaments was not always the sole objective of being a professional tennis player. Chris Evert, the greatest women’s clay court player of all time, once skipped the French Open for three consecutive years during her peak to play in World Team Tennis. Many frequently demurred on travelling halfway around the world to compete in Australia after a long season. Others decided, simply, that grass is for cows. From the pursuit of money to helping to build up their tours by competing hard across the whole season, tennis players had different priorities and they all acted accordingly.

Sadly for Aryna Sabalenka, tennis has moved on. On Wednesday, she defeated Veronika Kudermetova to win the WTA 500 title in Abu Dhabi, the first notable tournament of the tennis season on either tour. Sabalenka may be the least known top 10 player, but she is the most in-form tennis player in the world.

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